Aviacom Recalls Argus Automatic Activation Device (AAD) Cutters
Aviacom, makers of the Argus AAD, recently released a Product Service Bulletin (PSB) pertaining to all Argus AADs equipped with a cutter manufactured in August 2007 or earlier. Aviacom will replace any of the affected cutters at no charge to the customer. The PSB states that any affected cutter must be replaced at the next reserve repack or no later than December 31, 2010. The complete PSB can be downloaded here.
AFF Standardization Meeting Planned for January
USPA has scheduled the 2011 Accelerated Freefall (AFF) Standardization Meeting for January 18-19 at the Doubletree Hotel Dulles Airport in Sterling, Virginia. All current AFF Instructor Examiners and anyone who wishes to become an AFF Instructor Examiner must attend at least one of these meetings every two years. USPA uses the meeting to standardize procedures and to develop new ideas for the program.
The hotel is near Dulles Airport (IAD) in Northern Virginia, and shuttle service is available by calling the hotel. The meeting is scheduled for 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. both days, so travel plans should be made accordingly. The fee for the meeting is $100 per person. Payment can be made at the meeting by providing a check made payable to USPA.
The hotel has set aside a block of rooms for meeting attendees at a room rate of $109 per night. Reservations must be made at least 30 days prior to arrival (by December 17) to secure the special room rate. Attendees should register online through this special web link or by calling the hotel at (703) 230-0077 and mentioning that they are reserving a room for the AFF Standardization Meeting. The hotel address is 21611 Atlantic Blvd., Sterling, VA 20166.
In addition to reserving a hotel room, you must confirm attendance with USPA by sending an e-mail with your contact information. Be sure to bring a current Skydiver’s Information Manual and Instructional Rating Manual to the meeting. The newest versions of both manuals should be available in late September or October.
Mark Your Calendars for the 2011 DZO Conference!
USPA has scheduled the 2011 Drop Zone Operators’ Conference for February 13-14 in Reno, Nevada, in conjunction with the Parachute Industry Association Symposium and USPA Board of Directors meeting. The conference provides a great opportunity for DZOs to network and to learn about what other drop zones are doing to improve the safety of their operations and to attract more first-timers, return customers and experienced jumpers. We’re working on some new ideas for this year’s DZO Conference to make it even more worthwhile for attendees. Make sure you save the date so that you don’t miss out!
We try to make the DZO Conference as valuable for attendees as possible and want to address topics of concern to you. If you have ideas or suggestions of items you’d like covered, please e-mail them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Making Better Use of Downtime
Are you helping your students make the most of their downtime between training jumps? With a little effort, drop zone staff can help students use their time between jumps in a productive manner instead of sitting around doing nothing, waiting for some face time with an instructor.
Students need to learn about equipment, packing, spotting theory, rules, regulations and a host of other topics that don’t require getting into an airplane and making an actual jump. The drop zone should consider using coaches to provide some of this training, which will help take the workload off of instructors. Grouping students together in one training session will save time. Just because a student is in Category D of his freefall training doesn’t mean that he can’t knock out the equipment training outlined in Category E, for example. Schools that use the Integrated Student Program keep their training programs flexible and the students learning. Using the A-license progression card will also make it easy to track each student’s progress and ensure that the students have been trained for everything necessary to receive their A licenses.
When the weather is good, holding ground training on weekday evenings will help keep weekends free for time in the air. (This isn’t a good strategy for only A-license progression training; even first-jump courses can be taught this way.) Getting instructors and students together away from the drop zone during the week promotes a relaxed environment for ground training. It also helps students make new friends with one another and with the drop zone staff.
With a little planning, it is easy to make the changes necessary to streamline your training program, make better use of your coaches and instructors and help students learn more effectively.
Training Centers: A Reminder to Submit Student Information
For Group Member DZs registered as Training Centers, don’t forget to submit your first-jump students’ information on a regular basis. Currently registered Training Centers must submit names and e-mail addresses of first-jump students at least once every 60 days to maintain their “TC” designations. If a Training Center goes 60 days without participating, USPA Headquarters will notify the drop zone and allow another 60 days for the DZ to submit information on its first-timers. If a DZ still doesn’t participate, it will lose its TC designation. If your DZ closes during the winter season, be sure to let us know so that we don’t expect submissions during that time.
For drop zones not currently registered, it’s not too late to join. Simply click here to register online. We welcome and encourage all U.S. Group Member DZs to participate. If you have questions about the program, e-mail Patty Daney, USPA’s Group Member Coordinator, at GroupMbrs@uspa.org.
DZ Marketing Tip of the Month: Tapping into the Collegiate Market
With the fall semester starting and beautiful weather across much of the country, now is a great time to tap into your local colleges and universities and encourage students to come skydive. Here are a few ideas for getting local college students out to your drop zone:
Colleges bring a lot of potential for first-time jumpers, and attracting younger jumpers also helps the longevity of our sport. Make sure to tell your collegiate first-timers all about your drop zone’s student program and educate them about their options for continuing in the sport.
- Post flyers on kiosks across campus.
- Offer group discounts for college students. They love to do things in groups, and what better college bonding experience is there than going skydiving together?
- Advertise in the campus paper or on the school’s radio station. Ad rates are probably fairly inexpensive.
- If any students at the local university already jump at your drop zone, contact the campus paper and encourage them to do a story on the local collegiate jumpers.
- If the school already has a skydiving club, work together to reach out to other students at the school. Help the club make presentations about skydiving on campus, and work with the club to help it grow and attract more members.
If you do have a group of college students come out to jump, don’t forget to check everyone’s IDs to make sure they meet your drop zone’s minimum age requirements.
The collegiate market offers a lot of great opportunities for your drop zone and for the sport. College students are filled with energy and a zest for life and are likely to want to participate in fun, daring activities. And they’ll bring that great energy to your drop zone. Make sure your DZ is doing everything it can to bring local students into our wonderful sport.
Please Double Check Your Paperwork
USPA staff has to call and e-mail individuals daily to inform them that their applications have a problem and cannot be processed. Here are some questions to ask yourself to help ensure smooth and timely delivery:
For clarification, review Section 3-1.D of the Skydiver’s Information Manual.
- Are you submitting the most current form? (Current forms are available here.)
- Is the skill table complete? (Each block pertaining to the license sought and any prior license not already held must be initialed.)
- Is the proper person signing the skill tables?
- The four-page A-License Progression Cards may be signed by a current USPA Coach (limited to just a few items), Instructor, Examiner, S&TA or board member.
- The two-page A-License Proficiency Cards may be signed by a current USPA Instructor or higher.
- B- and C-License Applications may be signed by a current USPA Instructor or higher.
- D-License Applications may be signed by a current USPA Instructor or higher for the skills portion; the verification box requires the signature of a current Examiner, S&TA or board member.
- Are you submitting the most current form? (Current forms are available here.)
- Are you submitting an application that contains signatures no more than 24 months old?
- Are you missing any signatures? (If taking a full rating course, every line item must be signed.)
- If you are applying for a tandem rating, did you include a copy of your FAA medical certificate?